Archive for the ‘Etymology’ Category

The Language of the Ten Plagues

April 10th, 2017 No comments

As we enter the Passover season, millions of people around the world are telling the story of the Hebrews’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt and remembering a series of remarkable events that define the Jewish people and faith. As part the Seder (the celebratory Passover meal), Jews recount the Ten Plagues that ravaged Egypt and finally convinced Pharaoh to release the Hebrews from bondage. The historicity of the Exodus has been debated, analysed, rejected and rethought countless times. While large scale archaeological evidence has not yet been uncovered, clues do indeed exist. Outside of archaeology, are there any hints that there was an Exodus and that it did indeed occur at the time reported in the Bible, rather than being a later invention as some scholars assert? One way to approach the answer is to determine if there are similar words in both Hebrew and Egyptian that might have required interactions between the two peoples in order to develop. A scribe creating a fictional narrative during the Babylonian Captivity and Post-Exilic Period would have been far less likely to use these types of words than words arising from the Babylonian and later Persian culture that surrounded him. read more